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Why buying second hand is the sustainable choice

We all love a bargain, but at what cost? The devastating environmental and societal impact of fast fashion has made many of us conscious of what we buy and from whom. Here at SOTT, quality and sustainability are our priorities. We have over 35 years' experience selling luxury fashion, specialising in preloved clothes, and our staff has expertise in authenticating and valuing designer fashion items.
Well-made clothes are designed to last, which is why we are passionate about making it easier to buy and sell pre-owned clothes online as well as through our flagship Chelsea store. Many discerning shoppers want to purchase unique pieces - and our preloved garments provide the perfect opportunity.
But what we do isn't just for the sake of fashion. In her book To Die For, Lucy Siegle reveals that every year £32.5 billion of clothes are bought in the UK. A high proportion of these items – 1.72 million tonnes - end up in landfill. Learning to re-use and re-imagine our relationship with buying clothes is essential if we want to reduce pollution and combat climate change.

Buying previously owned clothes is more sustainable because each new item of clothes produced requires water use and results in greenhouse gases being emitted. Did you know that each item of second-hand clothing purchased (compared to newly bought)saves 3,040 litres of water and 22kg of CO₂?

A survey commissioned by giffgaff in 2019 found that more than 50% of us are worried about the impact of fast fashion on the environment. Online clothing giants make it easier and cheaper to buy new clothes. Unfortunately, we don't see the vast quantities of water required to make those clothes, or the pollution they cause – often in developing countries that struggle to deal with the impact of thousands of poorly-regulated factories. It sounds terrible, but it's not hopeless. The truth is, to make a change, we have to vote with our money. That means buying more slow fashion items.

By shopping with us, you can still dress stylishly whilst supporting small businesses and playing an active role in the sustainable movement. If you can't make it to our shop in London, you can buy online . What's more, our incredible and diverse collections means you can choose items in pristine condition that you can't find anywhere else.

Many of the brands we stock are industry-leaders in making their operations sustainable. For example, Stella McCartney is one of the UK companies trying to combat their environmental impact. The Stella McCartney brand uses a tool called Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) to measure and understand their impact on the environment. The information produced allows the company to combat poor environmental practices and mitigate where possible. Other designer brands like Rag & Bone and Chanel are also putting sustainability front and centre in their business practices.

Photo: Stella McCartney AW17 campaign via Refinery29

Buying a previously-owned Chanel piece is not only a stylish addition to your wardrobe, but according to Harper's Bazaar , can be an excellent financial investment for the future. Feeling inspired to shop sustainably? Why not browse our New In.


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